With so many coffee grinders on the market, it can feel impossible to wade through them all. Do you want a burr grinder? A blade grinder? Something else entirely? Should you pick a conical or flat burr grinder? All these choices and all you need to do is grind some coffee beans!
The truth is, you can get the job done with just about any coffee grinder. You don’t need to buy a grinder with all the bells and whistles to get the job done – in theory, you could even throw your beans in a blender if you really needed to (though this might create a questionable end result). So, is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, which bells and whistles aplenty, worth it?
Firstly, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a conical burr grinder with several smart features. Its marketing angle is that it can grind and measure out the perfect amount for whatever you need – simply specify “cups” for filter brewers or french presses or “shots” for espresso makers.
The Smart Grinder Pro is designed to dispense directly into your container- this can be a portafilter, a container, or even a filter. However, note that it is very conspicuously missing a scale, a feature that most other grinders at this price point do have.
Because this product is meant to measure out specified amounts (and these amounts aren’t terribly clear, since they’re measured in “cups” and “shots”), it’s not great for manually grinding large quantities of beans.
In fact, to grind manually, you must hold down a button on the unit – you can’t walk away and let it do all the work. As such, this unit is most appropriate for someone who has time to grind their own beans before each cup of coffee or espresso, not someone who bulk-grinds all at once.
The Smart Grinder Pro is all about making things easier for the everyday coffee connoisseur. It aims to give you precisely the amount of ground coffee that you need without needing to measure beforehand. As long as there are beans to grind, just choose what output you need, and the machine will do the rest.
In addition to its “smart” technology, the Smart Grinder Pro comes standard with Breville’s 60-some grind settings. It’s worth noting that the previous Smart Grinder (the non-Pro version) only came with 25 settings, which is already impressive in its own right.
As an alternative, the Smart Grinder Pro has a simpler sibling called the Breville Dose Control. The Dose Control works on the same idea as the Smart Grinder Pro in that it’s designed to output the exact amount of coffee that you need.
However, Dose Control is a bit less user-friendly than the Smart Grinder Pro. It has no LCD screen – instead, it merely has a timer dial for choosing the amount you want. However, because of its simplicity, the Dose Control is slightly less expensive than the Smart Grinder Pro, though it appears to fall prone to the same quality issues.
Once you find the settings and grind times you like, the machine can remember those settings, making repeated uses a breeze.
While this machine is designed to make everything as easy as possible for you, it does have manual override settings. However, if you’re looking for a manual grinder, we wouldn’t recommend this machine – all of its smart functions are overkill for that sort of thing.
Things we like:
- Incredible programmability and customizability
- Remembers your choices for ease of repeated use
- Conical burr grinder offers a range of grinding options and even, consistent results
Room for improvement:
- Manua override is a pain to use
- No scale for easy weight measurement
- No “pots” measurement – only cups and shots
When you’re looking for a truly smart device, the name of the game is in the features, and this grinder doesn’t disappoint here.
We’ll start off this part of the Breville Smart Grider Pro review with its exciting flexibility.
Because this is a highly-adjustable conical burr grinder, the Smart Grinder Pro can be used for both standard coffee and for espresso. While the Smart Grinder Pro is a bit pricy for a coffee grinder, it falls much more in line with other espresso grinders.
This means that, if you’re a coffee consumer that’s always wanted to try espresso, or if you’re just a person who likes to switch between the two, the Smart Grinder Pro is an excellent option for you.
It’s worth noting that the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is decently sized; it’s a countertop grinder, not a portable unit. The unit is 6” wide, 8.5” deep, and 15.5” tall. It should fit under most cabinets, but as always, it’s best to measure before you buy.
The hopper part of this unit can contain up to one pound of coffee beans at a time. This is more than enough to last anyone short of a professional barista.
If you’ve looked at any Breville Smart Grinder Pro reviews out there, you may have noticed some surprisingly negative ones. Unfortunately, this is because the engine in this unit is prone to seizing.
Fixing the engine isn’t complicated- all that you need to do is empty the grinder, brush it out with a small brush (included with the unit), then replace everything and continue. Do not attempt to force the unit when it seizes!
As long as you treat the unit with care, it should work for a long time, even with the occasional engine seize. It’s the nature of a coffee grinder to get stuck from time to time, after all, and I don’t believe this means that the Smart Grinder Pro shouldn’t be something you consider.
We talked about the flexibility of this grinder above, but it’s important that we go into just how precise you can get with this grinder. While the unit itself has sixty grind settings to choose from, the top burr on the unit also has ten manual settings.
By dialing in both the electronic setting and the manual setting, you can get an exact grind size out of this unit. However, it’s worth noting that various Breville Smart Grinder Pro reviews state that this unit isn’t as good with coarse grinds as it is with fine ones.
We always love to see when producers add little quality-of-life improvements to their products. While it would be nice to have a better measurement system built into this unit, it does have some other fixes that you might like.
Firstly, this unit has a cord coil area to keep the power cord tidy and out-of-the-way when you’re not using it. In addition, it has handy-dandy portafilter slots to that you can simply attach your portafilter, tell the unit to start and go on to other things.
Lastly, the hopper on this unit is pretty easy to remove – all you need to do is twist a knob to unlock it. This makes it incredibly easy to clean. There’s a removable magnetic catch tray at the bottom of the unit that also helps contribute to easy cleanups.
The overall quality of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is quite good. The unit is made primarily of stainless steel, while the inner portions are plastic (ostensibly for ease of cleaning).
Unfortunately, steel can be prone to corrosion over time, but as long as you keep liquids away from this unit as much as possible (barring the occasional cleaning), it should last you a while.
That being said, it would be nice to see a more robust engine in future models of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. An underpowered engine is the main reason for the seizes in this unit.
If we’re talking aesthetics, the Breville Smart Grinder doesn’t lack here, either! The unit comes in several different colors, including silver, red, and all-black. As we mentioned above, this unit is stainless steel with some plastic areas, and the overall look is quite classy.
The Smart Grinder Pro also has an attractive LCD display that’s very easy to read.
It’s worth noting that the customer service for Breville is notoriously bad. According to Breville Smart Grinder Pro reviews, It’s challenging to get competent, trained help over the phone, and ordering replacement parts is nearly as bad. This reason alone may be enough for some to seek out a different brand, because when this unit breaks down, you may be out of luck on fixing it.
Ostensibly, the Smart Grinder Pro comes with a one-year limited warranty, but whether you’ll be able to collect on said warranty with unreliable customer service is anyone’s guess.
One of the main advantages of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is its ability to avoid excess coffee grinding. With other grinders, you need to estimate the general amount of coffee that you need, and if you grind too much, you’re stuck either making extra coffee or throwing out the excess. The Smart Grinder Pro virtually eliminates this.
All in all, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is all about doing most everything reasonably well; it can give you a finished, ground product in virtually any consistency. Aside from professional units, there aren’t very many grinders on the market that can boast as much, and certainly not in this price range.
However, the Smart Grinder Pro is just as much a master of none as it is a jack of all trades. It can’t measure up to specialized grinders when it comes to quality, but because of its low price, it’s an excellent entry-level model for those just dipping their toes into the brewing world.
All in all, while this product has some quality issues that could use improvement, it’s a genuinely good grinder with extremely convenient features.
The real catch-22 is with Breville’s customer service; if the customer service for this product was better, it would be worth getting even with its occasional quality issues. However, because reaching customer support is to difficult, you might be stuck with a faulty unit or one that stops working before the warranty is over.
Other than that, we didn’t like how this unit doesn’t have a normal measurement system, such as a scale. Besides that and its underpowered engine, it’s a decent unit with a plethora of life-bettering features. The most important ones include:
- The ability to grind the exact amount of coffee you need, every single time
- Incredibly flexible grind functions that are appropriate for all types of coffee
- A large hopper and memory-friendly functions
It’s worth noting that espresso grinders that work on-demand like the Smart Grinder Pro can cost upwards of one thousand dollars. At that price point, the Smart Grinder Pro might be worth buying even if you receive a unit that breaks down in a year.
All in all, this unit is excellent for making your life easier – that is, until it becomes a headache itself. You’d be hard-pressed to find such a flexible and accessible unit for such a low price anywhere else, even with these issues.
Do keep in mind, though, that the issues that are present with this Breville coffee grinder are common among grinders in its quality and price range. Unfortunately, the pain of dealing with Breville puts this unit at a disadvantage, but unless you want to fork over four figures, you’re likely going to see jamming and breaking on occasion.
If you’re looking for a comparable unit that’s a bit more reliable, consider checking out the Baratza Encore grinder. While the Encore is not a smart grinder and isn’t suitable for most espresso makers, it’s much more reliable.
In addition, Baratza provides incredible customer service in comparison to Breville, meaning you’ll sleep easier if your unit does experience some issues.